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Indian-Origin Astronaut Sunita Williams to Embark on 3rd Space Mission

New Delhi: Indian-origin astronaut Sunita Williams is set to make her mark in space once again as she prepares for her third mission with NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test to the International Space Station (ISS), scheduled for launch on May 6.

Williams, alongside astronaut Butch Wilmore, will take off aboard Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from the Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Upon reaching the ISS, they will spend approximately a week at the orbiting laboratory.

This mission, part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, marks the first crewed flight for the Starliner spacecraft. It will serve as a comprehensive test of the spacecraft’s capabilities, encompassing launch, docking, and return to Earth in the western United States. A successful crewed flight test will pave the way for NASA to certify Starliner and its systems for future crewed missions to the space station.

Williams brings a wealth of experience to the mission, having previously participated in two long-duration expeditions aboard the ISS. As a member of Expedition 14/15 from December 9, 2006, to June 22, 2007, she served as a flight engineer, concluding her tenure as a member of Expedition 15. During this time, Williams established a world record for female astronauts with four spacewalks totaling 29 hours and 17 minutes. Though her record was later surpassed by Astronaut Peggy Whitson in 2008, Williams’s achievements remain a testament to her expertise and dedication.

Subsequently, Williams embarked on another long-duration mission as the flight engineer for Expedition 32 and assumed command of the ISS during Expedition 33.

With her upcoming mission, Sunita Williams continues to inspire and contribute to the exploration of outer space, furthering humanity’s understanding of the cosmos.

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